wee answer Wednesday — 7 short answers to 7 short questions

It’s wee answer Wednesday — seven short answers to seven short questions. Here we go…

1. Coworker’s husband is doing our schedule

My boss gave a coworker the task of scheduling my coworkers because he felt she was more qualified for the task. I just found out that she has her husband doing the scheduling. I have two questions for you: First, should I tell my boss that her husband is doing the scheduling, not her? Second, could this be a privacy issue?

I don’t see a privacy issue here in a legal sense, but I’d tell the manager that her husband is doing the schedule because that’s so incredibly bizarre that your manager would almost surely want to know about it. (However, that assumes that you really know this is the case. Has she told you that herself, and if not, how did you find out? I’d want to be confident about that first, or at least be able to explain to your manager why you think it’s the case.)

2. Is it essential to include an address on your resume?

Do you think that it is imperative that I include my address on my resume? To be honest, I’ve been a bit of a nomad for the past 6 years or so, due to having various commitments that were up to two hours away in either direction from the central location of my childhood. Basically, I have several friends who I stay with most of the time up and down the coast (in Australia) but I wouldn’t feel comfortable listing any of their addresses as my own. If I were to land a job, I would definitely would settle down and have my own place in that area (and not consider it relocating). I can list my parent’s address but it is not at all in the area that I’m looking for work, and I feel like it may hinder my job prospects by listing it. I have read that not including your address makes it look like your hiding something (which maybe I am, although I would be willing to explain my situation in an interview).

It’s not essential, but hiring managers do sometimes wonder why it’s not on a resume, and suspect that you’re not local, etc. No good hiring manager is going to pass up a great candidate over it though.  However, be prepared to be asked in phone interviews if you’re local, and if you’re not, to encounter the same difficulties that non-local candidates often encounter.

3. References when your most recent manager isn’t responsive

I have a question about how to put together a strong list of references based off my resume. I am currently looking for a new job after having been with my current organization for 2.5 years. Prior to that I was in graduate school (2 years) and prior to that I had 2 jobs, the first as a full-time research assistant for 2 years, and prior to that another job at the same hospital, somewhat less related to what I want to do now. I have one of those bosses/work environments where talking about looking for a new job and asking for a reference is impossible.

My boss from my time as a research assistant does not answer any attempts that I have made to contact him. He gave me a reference in the two years after I left, but nothing in response to any attempts since then. I do still have a good relationship with a reference from the job I had prior, which at this point is six and a half years ago.

In my current position, I work on a number of project grants and proposals with people outside my organization and who I trust and who I could ask to serve as a reference. However, none of these people can speak to me day in and out in an office, so I question how valuable it is to have all of my references be “outside the office” professional relationships, even if they’re current. Prior to my job and while as a student, I did have a three-month internship and my supervisor at that internship is happy to provide a reference for me — but I don’t know how strong the value of that reference is. Basically, when you are in a situation where “recent former boss” is not really possible, what are the strongest types of replacement references that I can provide?

I’d do all that you can to track down the most recent former boss. Is it possible that he’s changed jobs or moved or otherwise has different contact info? I’d check LinkedIn, Google him, and check with your former workplace to see if anyone has clues that can help you locate him. But if that fails — or if he’s in the same place, just not responding to you — then I’d explain the situation to reference-checkers and offer everyone else who you can: the internship supervisor, the reference from the much older job, and a couple of people who you work on projects with in your current job (pick the two who will give you the most glowing references). Employers understand this kind of thing happens. They might want to make you an eventual offer contingent on being allowed to talk to your current manager at that point, but this should at least get you up to that point.

4. I think I’m about to be fired — should I resign?

I think I will be fired/let go soon(!): My hours were changed and then cut; a new person was hired to take on some of the responsibilities I was supposed to have; and I am micromanaged on some things (commonsense, routine stuff) but expected to already be proficient with areas of responsibility for which I indicated I needed training.

I’ve begun looking for another job. When applying, do I even need to mention this job? I have another part-time, contract job and freelance work, so there’s no gap in my employment history. Or, because I’ve been at this new job for such a short time, I wonder if it would be better to resign (instead of waiting to be let go). The less time I stay there, the less I need to mention it in my job history, right? Or, wrong? And, I wouldn’t have to say I was fired on applications that ask for everything. I want to resolve this situation as professionally as possible, and any advice would be greatly appreciated.

I’d leave it off your resume entirely, especially since you won’t have a gap, thanks to the contract work and freelancing. As for whether to resign so that you won’t have to answer “yes” to future questions about whether you’ve ever been fired, it’s unlikely to come out that you were fired from a job that’s not on your resume unless you’re undergoing a check for a security clearance or something like that in the future, so do what you will with that piece of information. One option, though, would be to take the steps described in this very old column I wrote for U.S. News column in 2008 — which basically recommends an honest conversation with your manager about what’s going on.

5. Explaining why I’m leaving a dysfunctional job after four months

I am a supervisor at a nonprofit agency. i began this job only four months ago; my last job had staff layoffs due to finances, and my position was dissolved. I have never been so miserable in my life. I inherited a staff that the the director describes as “dysfunctional and unprofessional.” She herself is intimidated by them and does nothing about the situation. They are disrespectful, temper tantrums have taken place both in my office and in our weekly staff meetings, and some downright refuse to do as I direct them to do. This is the first time in my 13 years of my career that I HATE my job.

I am therefore actively interviewing. My resume shows that I do not hop around, spending four years at one clinic, three years at another before they had their layoffs, and two years at my most recent previous job, before their layoffs. How do I explain on an interview why I am looking to leave this job after only four months?

You might consider leaving it off entirely, but if you decide to include it, you could certainly explain that you inherited an extremely dysfunctional staff and that you haven’t been given the authority to manage the situation — such as setting and consequences for the performance and behavior problems — and that you feel you can’t effectively perform the role you were hired for in that environment. (You need to say this with no rancor or negativity, of course.) The right employers will see this as plus, not a minus.

(Also, are you sure that you’re not allowed to take action to deal with the staff? I’m assuming it in the answer above, but if that’s not the case, then holy crap, I’d swing into action on that immediately and see if that salvages the situation.)

6. How can I help my daughter fix this mistake?

I am trying to help my daughter overcome a huge error in judgment. She quit her job a year ago, which I believe was emotionally driven and resulted in her choosing poorly. She was a nationaly certified medical assistant and hasn’t been able to get interviews, which I know is the result of the prior employment check prospective employers are making. During a recent appointment I had at the office she worked at, the doctor asked me how my daughter was doing and I explained the difficulties she was having. He stated he wished he could hire her back because she was the best employee he ever had, but that he is not able to rehire because of the company policy. He stated that the company is indicating they would not rehire her and that of course is the death knell.

I know that she has learned from this mistake and that she is quite prepared to explain how and what she has learned from the poor choice she made, but she can’t get to the interview step. Besides going back to school in another medical branch and “start over,” do you have any suggestions on what she might work toward to change the situation?

Hmmm. I wouldn’t assume that the reason she’s not getting interviews is because of her record at her old job. Most employers don’t check references until much later in the process, after interviews. If she’s not getting interviews, the problem is much more likely to be her resume and cover letter. I’d start there, unless she has evidence that indeed these employers are all doing pre-interview reference checks (which would be unusual for one, let alone all of them).

7. How should I use LinkedIn in this situation?

I graduated from college this past May. Before I left, I had taken a seminar on transitioning into the “real world,” which emphasized the importance of LinkedIn. Now seven months later and still unemployed, I really don’t see the value in LinkedIn. I have done everything that they claimed would help me get hired (updating often, making connections, etc.) and it just hasn’t seemed to live up to the hype. (I should note I have not been job searching only on LinkedIn, I have been using it as a supplement.)

Last week, I applied to a position, and the next evening, the hiring manager had added me on LinkedIn. I haven’t made any contact besides accepting his request (which was the generic “I would like to add you to my professional network”) and he has not contacted me further regarding the position. I haven’t worried too much, especially as this was a holiday period, but I’m wondering, should I contact him again (perhaps message him through LinkedIn?) and if so, what do I say? If not, should I just wait and hope he eventually follows up to my application?

If he’d just looked at your profile and not connected, I would tell you not to do anything — that the ball is still in his court to contact you. But he connected with you, and that’s arguably opening the door to further contact. Send him a message through LinkedIn and tell him that you appreciated him connecting, that you recently applied for the XYZ position with him, and that you’d love to talk if he thinks you might be a good fit.

About the value of LinkedIn in general, in my experience it’s best for finding connections in your network to jobs that interest you. For instance, if you’re applying for a job with company X, you might discover on LinkedIn that your former coworker’s friend works there and can reach out to see if she’s wiling to give you the inside scoop — something you’d probably never know without the site. But it’s not so helpful in terms of jobs just coming to you, especially if you’re right out of school and don’t have a desirable job history that would attract recruiters.

{ 71 comments… read them below }

  1. -X-

    What about the city/state on a resume but not the address. I can fit my email address, phone number, website (which has examples of my work and links to social media) plus the city (big city that’s well known) nicely on one line at the top of resume. It looks good – each piece of information separated by a bullet, with the whole line going the width of the page. But it lacks a mailing address.

    Any use or problems withthat?

    1. Ask a Manager Post author

      I can’t defend this, but my gut says to included your street address if the only reason you’re not is because of a resume formatting issue. It risks raising a question for some employers, and I just wouldn’t bother with that if it’s just for formatting reasons. On the other hand, any employer who wouldn’t call you over that is obviously ridiculous — it just also seems silly to me to flout a major resume convention for formatting reasons.

      1. PEBCAK

        I actually see a lot of resumes with no mailing address come across my desk, but as long as they list a current job in my city, I really don’t care. I figure that mailing addresses are kinda becoming outdated…I can’t remember the last time I used one in the interview process.

        1. PEBCAK

          Which…isn’t to say that you shouldn’t include it, just that I haven’t really thought about it until just now.

      2. mh_76

        I had heard a few years ago that it wasn’t necessary / was optional to include your mailing address on resumes. “Snail mail” is used so little in the job search process nowadays that, to me, it makes sense to include it on “application” and information forms (mostly because it’s often a required field in agency etc. databases) but isn’t necessary for resumes, especially if your phone number has a local area code. Also, geograhpic information is usually on LinkedIn etc. profiles already so it’s not “un-find-able” (to invent a word). I wish that all “recruiters” would include it in their emails though because I’m only working with recruiters/agencies that are local (but I’ve ranted about that in prior posts’ comments).

    2. njb

      I usually advise my clients (many of whom are female) to use City, State and Zip code…but not the actual house address on the resume.
      1 reason is safety issues, especially if you have your resume on online, or pass it out a job fairs. Weirdo folks do exist in the world…
      2. I live in a geographically expansive city with no public transportation system to speak of, and know employers that really have reservations about hiring people with long commutes. A 2 hour commute (driving) is not unheard of in these parts.

      1. Anonymous

        I definitely understand your reason #1. But for #2, wouldn’t the zip code give away how far the commute is?

      2. Elizabeth West

        For my online resume, I don’t put anything. Just my phone and email. But you can look at it and tell where I am, since every single job on it is in the same city.

    3. Ashley

      What about a PO Box? A normal one could be fine, but place like Mailboxes, etc. advertise that their boxes actually have street addresses.

      1. anon in tejas

        I was going to suggest this.

        In more rural parts of my state, people don’t have mail delivery to their residences, but local PO Boxes. That’s also what a lot of “transient” students use when they don’t have a mailable address (dorms, or temporary residence).

        I don’t know if that would be acceptable internationally though.

  2. -X-

    “hasn’t been able to get interviews which I know is the result of the prior employment check prospective employers are making.”

    How do you know this?

    Also, if the prior employer says in a reference check “We’d love to have her back but it’s against out policy to re-hire employees who resign” that seems like a strong statement in her favor.

    1. PEBCAK

      That’s…likely not what they are saying. If it’s a company large enough to have a policy on this, it’s probably just saying “she worke here from xx/xx/xxxx until xx/xx/xxxx with the title of Teapot Tester and she is ineligible for rehire”.

      1. -X-

        How did the father get more detail out of the previous manager if they’re only allowed to follow that policy?

        1. Katie

          Interesting… I was completely picturing a mother.

          But it sounds like this parent just happened to be at the doctor’s office as a patient and talking about her (his?) daughter who used to work there, not that the parent was calling as a potential employer to check references.

      2. K

        Would they say that if literally everyone who leaves is ineligible for retire? It seems deliberately misleading in a way people would know to avoid.

        1. PEBCAK

          No, if you quit and are ineligible for rehire, it typically it means you didn’t give notice, but could mean something worse.

          1. N.

            I don’t think the “death knell” is that the company won’t rehire her and is willing to say this, I think it is having a worried parent, who never had such a dry spell to compare to, that is writing to ask a manager.

            Despite being certain “she has learned from her mistake,” this parent seems to be speaking on behalf of their daughter, whether it is having a fireside chat with the Doc or writing to an advice column. OP #6 you may need to reconsider your approach; there may be no “fixing this mistake,” with all due respect, you both need to focus on moving on.

            Please ask yourselves why you think leaving was the incorrect thing to do? You said she quit from an emotional place, I am not convinced this is always wrong. Some places really bring out the worst in people, and some will kill you… was it a mistake because she flew off the handle once and quit, or is this a hindsight mistake (she was right to leave but the consequences have proven too dire)?

            Mom/Dad I know you mean well, and you want what’s best for your kid, and I know the question was titled ‘how can I help’, but *not* helping might be the best thing.

            If your daughter was concerned, she should have written in to ask a manager, the fact that you are writing in says to me that you don’t trust her to handle her own affairs nor be responsible enough to learn on her own.

            I sincerely hope you are not *that* parent, the one that apologizes and tries to correct their kids “mistakes,” the kind who think they can’t be trusted to fill out job applications and do it for them, the kind who will let their kid sleep in after a night of partying and calls their boss to make excuses to why their kid never showed up to work etc.

            Think about it… am I talking about you? Alison mentions rather frequently that it can take up to a year or longer to find a job, and there is only so many people a person can talk to, so many applications that can be filled out. Even in-demand fields can be slow. So I counsel patience.

            If this isn’t you at all, and I misread you, I apologize and sincerely hope I am the only one who thinks you are making her seem a little nutty. I also hope something pans out soon for her, and you won’t have to worry anymore… which makes anyone including me, Nutty. Good luck.

    2. Ellie H.

      I can certainly understand how it would be distressing to leave a job, then regret it and have great difficulty finding work (or to witness someone you care about experiencing the negative consequences of a hastily undertaken action) but I’m not quite understanding how this rises to the level of “a huge error in judgment” or how it is a mistake to learn from, other than the lesson to spend more time thinking about it before you quit a job. We all make decisions that we regret in hindsight with distance and more information. It’s one thing to wish you had made a different choice in a situation but this is not exactly hamartia.

      Plus, she really can’t have left on very bad terms if the manager considers her the best employee of all time and would hire her back if company policy allowed.

  3. Michael

    #5: Maybe this writer isn’t looking for this in their career, and maybe there are many other factors at work here, but I just want to make sure they know they have an opportunity to have a great success here. I would love to go to a job interview saying, “I inherited a highly dysfunctional team. It took a long time, but I eventually corrected the problems by managing aggressively when needed, and by moving people out and getting the right people in.”

    1. Adam V

      That’s what I was wondering – I’m guessing Alison had some additional information that made her say “you haven’t been given the authority to manage the situation”, because I was sitting there saying “why aren’t you firing people?” You’d think the director, being intimidated by them, would be happy to see someone else take the lead on kicking them out.

      1. 212

        Adam,
        After people’s ongoing behavior is described to me by my boss, I have asked her why people are allowed to behave this way for all these years? She just tells me to keep documenting everything however, this is not what i wanted to do at this agency. I passed up other opportunities to work here; I was misled during the interview. wish I could have been given a heads up in a round about sought of way!

        1. Adam V

          Is there a chance to push back? Something like “okay, I feel I’ve documented enough, now it’s time to act on it”? If you could get the director to give you the go-ahead to fire the most egregious non-performer, that might wake everyone else up to the consequences of misbehavior – or else it would push them over the edge and you’d get to fire the rest.

          In the meantime, you could start interviewing new people, and (if necessary) inform them that you’re currently dealing with a number of employees who are behaving inappropriately, and you expect to hold all new employees to a higher standard while you weed out the low performers.

          If you just want to get out, though, I completely understand – I’d probably be just as drained and unmotivated as you are at this point. But like Michael says, you’d have a chance here to completely turn a team around and make the nonprofit more efficient in the meantime.

    2. 212

      michael- at this time in my career, i am looking to manage professional matters and conflicts, not people acting like children. my boss says people have been acting like this for years at this agency. I really wish I was warned about this during the job interview. I regret passing up the other opportunities I was offered; I felt I was misled in a way.

  4. Jenn

    Re: #6, if she’s applying to her old employer, then yeah, that’s probably why she isn’t getting called. She’s likely been deemed “ineligible for rehire”, and she’ll just have to accept that and move on. But if she’s applying to completely different employers, it could be a variety of factors.

    1. PEBCAK

      Now that I re-read it, I wonder if she is something like a dialysis technician, where virtually every center in the country is owned by the same corporation. If so, I would suggest she reach out to the people who knew her and liked her there. There are exceptions made to EVERY policy. Now, the doctor may have just been polite to the mother, but if they really have a position for which she’d be a great fit, she’d have to try to work her network.

      (I’m assuming that the issue is she quit with no notice. If the issue is like, she stole stuff or punched someone on the way out, then yeah, find a new career path)

      1. Sam

        Yes, I also thought that perhaps the OP’s daughter worked in one of those small niches in medicine where one bad recommendation can sink your career.

  5. OP #4

    Thank you very much, Alison, for answering my question.

    #5 in your previous article is perfect. I’m not interested in staying at this job. It’s okay, and I’m actually okay at it; but, it’s not really in my field, and I’m not a good fit. Your advice helps me empathize with my boss, and the lack of communication I’ve experienced with her thus far leads me to believe she is trying to avoid a “firing” conversation. If I do talk to her, I’m pretty sure she will be fine with me resigning.

    Yes, this job will not go on my resume.

    My main concern with resigning or waiting stems from the types of jobs I’m seeking. Many are with municipal organizations – schools, social welfare agencies, etc. – that require those long applications. (So, I was thinking I’d have to either look like a quitter or like someone who got fired after a few months.) Some of the positions require background checks, but I wonder if an unrelated job of a few months would even matter enough to raise a red flag if not included in an application. I guess my question should have been: Is it okay to leave this very short-term job off such an application?

    1. mh_76

      I would also research your state’s Unemployment Insurance laws – some states do not allow anyone who was fired to collect UI but some do so long as nothing willful or malicious was the reason for the firing. If the latter is the case with your state, it might be wiser for you to wait until they fire you (could you ask to be laid off if they decide to let you go?) – the company may appeal the decision but you will simply have to state (or write a letter to the UI investigator) that you were not fired for cause. If your state doesn’t allow anyone fired to collect UI, you should probably resign.

      As for including the job on your resume, I partially agree with AAM -but- if there is something that you did in that job that can help you get your next job, then do include it on your resume and explain to potential future employers that your hours were cut to the point that they decided to let you go. With the Economy in the bad (though slowly slowly improving) state that it’s in, that should be all that you need to say. If you’ve been in the workplace for a number of years (maybe 10+), you could even not use months on your resume, just years – there’s some debate about whether that’s OK or not but it’s the only way that I can keep my resume to 2 pages in length (also debatable) and the only way that I could delete a couple of jobs that are really not relevant to my professional interests (all except one are still on LI though).

      1. Ask a Manager Post author

        My thinking was that since the OP is making money on the side through contract and freelancing work, it’s going to cut into the unemployment benefits enough that it might not be worth it. But it’s worth finding out.

        But I would not tell employers that your hours were cut to the point that they decided to let you go, since that would be an outright lie and they could easily find out if they called for a reference (which they’re likely to do since it’s the most recent job). I also wouldn’t count on hiding it by just using years on the resume, since many hiring managers (like me!) will ask specifically how long you were at a job if it seems like it could have been just a couple of months and isn’t clear from the resume.

        1. OP #4

          Yes, I wouldn’t actually be unemployed, and I’ve had private health insurance for a few years (not sure if that factors into UI).

          The job isn’t adding relevant skills or experience, so I’d rather leave it off applications and my resume.

        2. mh_76

          I’ve had few short-term (2 months or so) jobs in which I learned and accomplished much more than in some of the jobs that were of a much longer duration (longer jobs were in poorly managed places) and that short-term experience is more relevant to my professional interests than some of the longer-duration jobs – should I (and others) leave off relevant experience that is more described on my resume, though short-term, in favor of longer-term but irrelevant experience that is described in a couple of short bullet-points on the resume?

          Yes, in hindsight, I should have moved on from some of the longer jobs before I did, but I had been told that I had to stay in a job for 3 years before moving on and I was too young to know better. I started looking to move from one job after ~ a year (knowing that I was going against advice but not caring because I really hated that job despite good working relationships w/ co-workers) and that search took 18 months…

          1. Ask a Manager Post author

            I’m not saying not to include it when there’s been real accomplishments — just not to count on being able to hide the length of time you were there.

            1. mh_76

              If they ask about the length of time, I’ll answer honestly (though admittedly will have to look it up because I don’t remember it all off the top of my head) or will say that it was a short-term project- (or project-part-) based job (truth) and draw their attention to the other “accomplishemented” short-term jobs and to the long-term job in which I do have some prof. relevant accomplishments. I have enough work experience that I’m not solely relying on the accomp. from one short-term job or on the ones from one of the longer-term jobs.

    2. Anonymous

      I agree with mh about checking the UI law in your state. If it says something like lost your job thru no fault of your own, it is likely that you can be fired for and collect but can’t resign and collect. And even if you are working part time or freelancing you may be able to collect some UI benefits so check on that before assuming you’ll be totally not eligible.

  6. jesicka309

    Ahh Linked In. A girl who went to my uni added me recently, and I figured, what the hell? Maybe she’s an alumni, maybe she wants to have a chat about my job? So I accepted.

    From what I can see, she’s adding anyone that shows up in her lists. She has 417 connections!! I’m sorry, no one has that many connections, even if you’re an editor at some indie webzine.

    One example of how NOT to use Linked In. If she’d even tried to initiate conversation, I would have felt like it was worth it. Maybe I’ll remove her from my connections…but it’s like watching a train wreck.

    1. Ask a Manager Post author

      Hmmm, this actually doesn’t seem objectionable to me. The way LinkedIn is designed to be used, expanding your network is a good thing. She might not know all those people well enough to recommend them (in fact, she certainly doesn’t), but she might be using it in other ways — to connect people, etc. 417 actually doesn’t seem crazy to me — a lot of people do have numbers around there or higher! (In fact, some LinkedIn experts recommend that your number of connections be equal to 10x your age. I don’t know about that, but I don’t think she’s doing anything especially crazy!)

      1. Jamie

        10x your age? According to LinkedIn I’m somewhere between infant and toddler.

        I new I wasn’t using it all that efficiently, but I’m really behind the curve.

        1. Ask a Manager Post author

          Ha, me too. I’m not worried about it though — I think it’s just for people who do really want to get all serious about LinkedIn (and thus jesicka309’s friend probably isn’t over the top) but certainly not an imperative for the rest of us!

      2. jesicka309

        I think it’s more that I can see she’s adding 10 or more people a day, it comes up in my feed. There’s networking, and then there’s blindly adding people – she didn’t even personalise her invitation. There’s no way she’s having meaningful contact with every one of these blind contacts (she certainly didn’t with me!)

        It’s like if a new grad emailed me, asking about my job etc, and I replied, and I never heard from them again. Then I found out she’d done the same thing to over a hundred other people in a multitude of roles and companies. A part of me would be saying ‘Really? That many people? And you’re sending out blind generic emails to all of them, then never following up and acting as though you actually cared about connecting with them?’

        1. Ask a Manager Post author

          I definitely get what you’re saying, but I think a lot of people use LinkedIn that way, and it’s pretty accepted. I know a lot of people are irked when invitations aren’t personalized, but in my experience, the majority aren’t — I think it’s pretty normal. Now, if she’s adding people she doesn’t know, then I agree that that’s over the top. But if it’s all people she legitimately has a connection to, I wouldn’t be too bothered. (It’ll be interesting to see how/if she uses that network once it’s established though.

          1. jesicka309

            Exactly. I don’t know her at all. From what I can see, our ‘connection’ comes from her numerous other connections she’s made. The only thing I could guess is that we both went to the same uni – I graduated 2010, she graduated 2012. That’s it. Never met her, never met almost anyone she’s added (though I recognise the job titles and companies). That’s why I’m assuming the majority of her 471 contacts are people who don’t know her from a bar of soap. I wouldn’t have minded her personalising her invite, as I have no idea who she is or why she’d want to add me. People you know, whether closely or through aquaintances, don’t need that.

            1. -X-

              As I mentioned, I had someone I didn’t know add me – it was so she could contact me about a job.

              Another reason to add people you don’t know if because it might turn out they work somewhere you want more info about, but you can’t tell because their profile is largely private except to connections.

            2. Jen in RO

              I’d find that weird too. I always reject requests from people I don’t know or at least know *of* (I’d accept a connection request from my coworker’s boyfriend, for example, even though I’ve never met him in person).

              1. Jen in RO

                I also always accept connections with people in HR, in case they want to call me for an interview (they usually do).

                1. Anonymous

                  The person who reached out to me about a job was not in HR.

                  I’d heard of her organization, but not her name.

                2. Jen in RO

                  Then I’d definitely reject her, I don’t want to clog up my connections with people I don’t know from Adam.

                3. Anonymous

                  What does “clog up” mean? Can you explain what the downside is to that kind of connection.

            3. AB

              People seem to be OK with her approach to networking, since she has so many contacts already. I have a very different strategy with LinkedIn:

              – Invitations from people I know (and don’t have any reason to keep out of my network): accept

              – Invitations from people I don’t know and don’t take the time to write a personalized note explaining why they want to connect: just ignore.

              – Invitations from people I don’t know and write a note explaining why they wanted to connect: write back with a canned answer explaining in a polite way that I want to know who is who in my network, and for that reason won’t add people unless we have at least exchanged some emails so I have an idea of who they are. I offer my email address and a link to where they can subscribe to receive notice of new articles (as most of the notes say that they enjoy those and want to follow my work).

              In some rare situations, one of these people in the latter category will write to me to introduce themselves and ask some smart questions. In that case I go back to the ignored invitation and add them.

              I just don’t see the point of criticizing other people’s approach to LinkedIn; just decide how you want to approach it, and don’t feel obligated to even reply to non-personalized invitations from strangers.

        2. Betts

          @jesicka309, I think that you are making a lot of assumptions about how this person is using linkedin. You can not just blindly add connections. You have to send out an invitation and the person on the other end has to then accept. If her invitees are accepting her requests to connect, well, that’s on them. Also, it is quite possible that some of her new connections may have extended the invitation to her.

          Linkedin has recently reduced the amount of characters that you can put into the invite box, so you really can’t say a whole lot when you send out your initial requests to connect. When someone accepts my invitation to connect, I usually wait a week or two before beginning a conversation.

          I don’t see anything inappropriate with how she is using the service.

    2. -X-

      “Train wreck” is a pretty strong phrase. What’s the big problem.

      “no one has that many connections, ”

      At a young age, probably not, though someone involved in youth leadership and conferences could.

      But for someone older – sure they could.

      I have 240 connections and I’m not aggressive in reaching out to people – most of those are people who know me and have reached out to me. A couple weeks ago someone I’ve never met connected to me and it resulted in a job interview. If I started connecting to more former colleagues and schoolmates who I might want to network with I could *easily* think of 100 more names and with a little effort another hundred more. Add in people I’ve had working relationships with who are from other organizations (clients, vendors, partners) and that’s another 100 no problem. Maybe more. It depends in pat on your work.

      I have an older friend whose company had 200 people in it at any given time, and led it for about ten years. And it was part of a larger conglomerate whose people she had to deal with. The company was in internet and social media, so she was an early adopter of social networking. And she deals with advertisers and others constituents. I’m nearly certain she has over 1,000 connections on LinkedIn of people she has met or corresponded with or who have a business reason she wants to connect or they want to connect with her.

      1. AnotherAlison

        Agree with -X-. . .I am also a non-aggressive networker with almost 300 connections (legitimate ones – current and former coworkers, industry contacts, etc.). I would almost expect a younger person who’s into LinkedIn to have more. I am mid-career and didn’t have LinkedIn until my current job, ya know, because it wasn’t around when I was in college or my first job : ). I don’t have most of my high school, college, or first-job friends/coworkers as connections, where a younger person probably would have a whole life-history of connections.

  7. To Number 2

    Number 2
    If one of your friends would let you use their address nominally, then you can set up a forwarded at the post office to go to a PO Box of your choosing. I have had to do this with my actual street address because my post box is not secure so all my mail is now redirected to the PO Box and no one is any the wiser.

    The only thing is the people at the address you’re forwarding from will get a letter notifying them that X person at this address is having mail re-directed and they have to not object.
    http://auspost.com.au/personal/mail-redirection-and-mail-hold.html

    1. COT

      I’d ask your friends if you could use their address when you apply for jobs near their home. You’re unlikely to receive any mail beyond an occasional rejection letter/postcard. I don’t think it’s deceptive to give their address as your own in this case, if that’s your concern.

      1. Anonymous

        Exactly. No reasonable (!) employer is going to come by the address after work to make sure the candidate is living at the location. And when you get hired, “Oh I moved, and here is my current address”

  8. Anonymous

    #6 – Just an idea, perhaps the doctor could suggest another employer that he may know, and act as a reference?

    1. KarenT

      A good suggestion, but the employee should be sure the doctor would give a good reference.
      It’s very possible the doctor was being polite and thinks the employee is not a good performer (hence, not eligible for rehire). He said he thought she was great, but what else do you say to a former employee’s PARENT during a medical appointment!

        1. Jamie

          I was thinking the same. I mean its a parent and the awkwardness of even discussing a child’s career in a captive environment – the default is to say something nice about one’s child.

  9. Lulu

    re: #3 I’m in a similar situation, where my last “manager” was pretty MIA for the last year or so I was there (working on multiple projects, mostly offsite), and while I’m fairly sure he’d give me a good reference if someone actually spoke with him, I’m not that sure anyone could track him down. I also haven’t kept in touch with him at all partly because I knew he was so busy, and partly because… well, I don’t really have anything to say. (I tend to assume this is because I was involved in an industry I’m not particularly interested in staying with, as well as because I barely saw him for so long.) If it comes up, I was planning on giving other non-managerial references as well as his name and last-known-number with the caveat that he’s notoriously difficult to contact. I suppose that could sound like a red flag, but I feel like it might look worse to have no/short reply AND not have warned them.

    Honestly, this whole reference thing makes me SO uncomfortable – everyone I’ve worked with has always been slammed with work and on perpetual overtime, I’m really loathe to put them on the spot and contribute to their voicemail/email box; I can’t imagine any of them prioritizing calling back a reference-seeker over their deadlines. I would just rather interviewers hit up random LinkedIn connections if they felt compelled to talk to someone. I mean, I get the purpose of checking, I’m just kind of amazed anyone gets a response!

    1. OP #3

      I completely understand the point of reference checks and checking with someone who managed you, but I’m definitely feeling frustrated in regards to how it reflects on me. I am trying to transition from working at a local nonprofit organization to an international one, and I have the experience and years that these positions are looking for – but I understand that the reference check that these organizations often do is far more rigorous and official.

      The boss I can’t get ahold of left the hospital where we worked – so if anyone called the hospital and asked about any of my performance reviews – those would be fine. Emails to his new professional email address and personal address (that I had from when we worked together) both go unaddressed. I just fear that ultimately it makes me look less professional in basically saying “my current boss you can’t talk to and my old boss won’t talk to me”.

  10. Anonymous

    #2: If it’s clear from the work locations that your past jobs have been up and down the coast, perhaps do what students do and show your parents’ address with the label “Permanent Address” to make it semi-clear that you’re not necessarily actually living there. Not sure if you can get away with this if you’ve been out of school for a while though.

  11. Joey

    #2.
    List it- the addresses where you currently live or are moving to. When you don’t list it or borrow an address solely to job hunt. On the employers end it feels deceptive if you borrow and I wonder if you’re overly worried or have reason to hide if you leave it off.

  12. RE: #2

    I recently stopped listing it and had a job interview rescinded by an employer when she found out that I was out of province. I have no trouble relocating or traveling for interviews on my own dime (did that last month!) , but she said that they wanted someone “local”.

    1. Anonymous

      Oh that must be so frustrating for you! Was the job in a remote area, or otherwise very culturally different from where you’re currently based?

    2. Esra

      That can be frustrating. I think it really depends on the industry, my brother works in hospitality and travels all over (Ontario, Alberta, and BC in the past few years) and that industry is a lot more willing to hire people who will relocate.

  13. Elizabeth West

    #5- Holy crap, no wonder the staff is unprofessional, if no one ever calls them on their behavior. Clearly they think they can get away with everything! I’m so sorry, OP, that you ended up in this situation.

    I agree with AAM; is there any way you and the director can work together to implement some kind of changes? I don’t see how any work is getting done. Anyway, it might be worth a try, before you give up entirely.

  14. OP #2

    Thank you for answering my question Alison and thanks to all your wonderful readers for their input!

    As an update, I left my address off a resume that I sent out about halfway through last week and got a call back from the recruitment agency who is handling the hire. It turned out to be a good move I think because I explained my situation to the recruiter who was quite sympathetic to my situation and gave me advice of what I should answer should the company hiring choose to interview (which she seemed quite positive that they would).
    Her advice was basically just to tell them that I’m living with friends currently in the suburb which I plan to relocate to and stay with family when I work down the coast (which is essentially true and just simplifies my full explanation three fold).

    Until I have fully settled down I will use this address and supplement it with that explanation.

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